Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: A model legislative report, cemeteries, and bronze ladies

Good morning, RVA! It's 45 °F, and today you can look forward to highs in 70s. Enjoy!

Water cooler

The Richmond Police Department is reporting a murder that occurred the night of March 12th. That evening, officers were called to the 2300 block of Halifax Avenue and found Husain El-Amin, 59, shot to death.

I got sent this Richmond Public Schools 2019 General Assembly End of Session Legislative Report (PDF) the other day, and, I have to say, it’s one of the best PDFs I’ve come across in a while. This 12-page report explains all of the General Assembly action (and inaction)—including the budget—that impacted RPS and does so in a human-readable way. Now that I know this sort of thing exists, I want something like it from...everyone. Including City departments! As the author of Richmond’s premier daily zoning and rezoning email, I’d love to see a recap of what, for example, the Department of Planning and Development Review tracked during this past General Assembly Session. I’m way too dumb about state-level stuff to create this sort of thing for transit, but you’d know I’d read that PDF in a second, too.

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch breaks down the proposed school budgets for Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and Richmond. I like the idea of putting together a regional comparison for how jurisdictions fund their schools, but a simple look at the total budget numbers and per-pupil spending doesn’t get it done for me and isn’t an equitable way to analyze the data. I wish I knew more about education funding so I could speak to it better, but I think you’d need to at least need disaggregate some of the data by race as well as include changes in state funding. The Commonwealth Institute has written about this a couple of times this year.

David Streever, writing for Style Weekly, has a long and thorough piece on a current conflict around the ownership and care of Evergreen and East End Cemeteries. The former is currently owned by the Enrichmond Foundation, which typically supports the city’s parks department (related: I did just learn, by listening to the recent budget session, that Parks, not DPW, is charged with mowing grass in cemeteries). Streever talks to Brian Palmer who’s been advocating for the two historic Black cemeteries for years and who you may remember wrote that excellent article in the Smithsonian about the ongoing costs of Confederate monuments. There’s a lot in here to digest—let’s call it your reading homework for today.

The Campaign for Housing and Civic Engagement (housing! always housing!) has an ultra quick survey for you to take to help them identify their 2019 housing policy priorities. Check their About Page if, like me, you’d never heard of CHACE and made a medium skeptical face when you saw the name. They’re “a collaboration between housing advocates and providers throughout Virginia working to bring housing issues to the forefront of elections,” and basically every cool housing organization you are familiar with is a partner.

Recently I wrote about the Virginia’s Women’s Monument down on the Capitol, and then I turn around and Colleen Curran at the RTD says artists are busy sculpting three more statues for the monument as we speak. Last time I was down there, the monument featured zero bronze statues, but Curran assures me that seven in total have been commissioned. Turns out, crafting bronze scale replicas of ladies who changed the course of Virginia’s history takes some time.

A reminder: Applications are now open for the Mayor’s Youth Academy summer employment program. Do you know a rad youth or two in your life who’d benefit from some work experience? Point them to this online application. Actually, do one better: Encourage them to spend some time writing and editing their answers separately and then help them work through putting it all into the (kind of long) application.

Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense says my favorite coffee roaster, Blanchard’s Coffee, will open two physical, brick-and-mortar coffee shops in town—one right up the street from the Scott’s Addition Pulse Station and one south of the river in the new The Veil / Charm School building on Forest Hill Avenue. Blanchard plans to open the Scott’s Addition location this summer.

This morning's longread

Frozen Alive

A perfect longread for a beautifully warm day. This whole thing gave me the heebie-jeebies.

But for all scientists and statisticians now know of freezing and its physiology, no one can yet predict exactly how quickly and in whom hypothermia will strike—and whether it will kill when it does. The cold remains a mystery, more prone to fell men than women, more lethal to the thin and well muscled than to those with avoirdupois, and least forgiving to the arrogant and the unaware.

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Good morning, RVA: Mitch Landrieu, four Secretaries speak, and climate change

Good morning, RVA: The first budget work session, clean energy fails, and a metalhead kazoo protest